Over the last month we've been driving for greater involvement of parents and families in the lives of the children we care for.
As anyone with children will know it takes an awful lot of administration skill to organise their life at the start of the school year! They need lifts here, there and everywhere; registering for an after school club; their new school uniforms need buying; they’ve got to get a fresh haircut; shoes need polishing… the list goes on.
Until now this responsibility has been taken care of solely by the amazing social workers and caretakers of our partner organisation, CARE Foundation. In the beginning, doing things this way was easier and quicker – most parents had no experience of the school system, having never been themselves. Being unable to read and write also presented huge barriers for them also.
This year we invited parents to come along with us to register their children for the new school year. In India this must be done in person at the school. Together we accompanied parents and helped them with instructions of what to do to ensure their child was registered and their fees were paid.
Bureaucracy in India means that this was a long day of waiting in line outside of the school, but at the end of the day all children were registered for the coming year and we maintain our 0% dropout rate.
In addition we have established the first ever Parents Committee for our projects. The committee is currently made up of 32 parents from the Londor community. Our first meeting was held on the 18th May at one of our centres.
From now on committee meetings will be held monthly to discuss the progress of the children, parental involvement, the progress of our organisation, and to talk about any issues that may have arisen. The committee members are responsible for speaking on behalf of the community and relaying information back to the rest of the community after meetings. From time to time, emergency meetings may be called to discuss pertinent issues.
So far there has been great enthusiasm from parents for this increased involvement and they are enjoying having more insight into their child’s education. This is part of our wider initiative to empower the community to care for themselves and their children better, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it grows.